The Biden administration has moved to end sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on officials associated with the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Secretary of State Tony Blinken. The ICC handles suspected criminal matters that transcend national borders and the abilities of national courts, like war crimes. The Trump administration originally imposed its sanctions on ICC officials in anger over the court’s planned investigation into conflict between Israel and Palestine, but this investigation has since been opened, with Blinken insisting that the Biden team concluded that the sanctions were “inappropriate and ineffective,” as Axios summarized.
Neither the U.S. nor Israel have signed onto acceptance of any authority of the ICC. Referencing the court’s interest in investigating wartime conduct in Afghanistan, Blinken commented as follows:
‘We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations. We maintain our longstanding objection to the Court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel.’
According to Axios, Biden “promised to lift the sanctions during the campaign, but he delayed doing so at the request of Israel,” which, as an ally of the United States, was angling to block the ICC’s investigation into tension between Israeli authorities and Palestinians. According to sources for Axios, Blinken informed Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashknenazi of the decision to lift the sanctions during a phone conversation on Friday.
The Biden administration has swiftly moved to undo some of the Trump administration’s damaging foreign policy legacy. For instance, the United States and Iran have agreed to start indirect negotiations surrounding the possible re-establishment of the Iran nuclear deal, which was originally enacted during the Obama era. The Trump administration dismantled the deal with a re-imposition of sanctions on the country despite Iran’s apparent allegiance to the terms of the agreement as it stood. Meanwhile, Biden has also moved to establish U.S. opposition to despotic activities of the Putin regime in stark contrast to Trump’s apparent willingness to downplay Russian aggression.